Standard Operating Procedures – A complete guide!
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) are key to many businesses these days. Not only do they document the successful process to maintain a quality product, output or procedure. In many circumstances they are the key to ensuring regulatory compliance. This SOP guide provides an overview of the creation process.
The creation of a SOP is just one small part of success. The whole lifecycle needs to be considered from creation, through to training and distribution. Then, there needs to be consideration for review and updates during the SOP lifespan. This standard operating procedure guide will consider all of these steps.
What is an SOP?
Firstly, let's define what a SOP is. An SOP is a document that outlines the steps that are required to complete a particular process. SOPs are used in many different industries to ensure that work is done in a consistent and efficient manner. They can be used to document procedures for anything from manufacturing processes to customer service protocols. SOPs can help to improve the quality of work, reduce errors, and increase efficiency by providing clear and detailed instructions for completing tasks.
The SOP pie diagram
This Blog is the first in a series describing some of those key elements, picking out some of the pitfalls and areas to focus on. We will also cover technology, people and process considerations for each of the main areas. To help us describe this we have created the ‘SOP Pie’. This diagram shows at a high level the SOP lifecycle and can be used as a standard operating procedures guide.
In truth there is no such thing as a ‘complete guide’ to SOPs, as the scenarios in which SOP’s are used are almost endless, and every situation has too many different variables to be able to list them all. There are however some quite simple considerations, checks and steps to help ensure success.
In each instalment of this guide, we will dig deeper into one of the six ‘slices’ in our ‘SOP pie’. We hope to provide a good insight in order to help ensure you and your organization are successful and efficient when it comes to SOP’s.
Don’t miss our next blog which will cover the ‘Scope and Purpose’ considerations of the SOP lifecycle!... All of the posts in this series are linked below so you can easily navigate through them:
Other articles in the series:
- 1st in the Series - Introduction (this page)
- 2nd in the Series - 'Scope and Purpose'
- 3rd in the Series - 'Audience and Authors'
- 4th in the Series - 'Format and Writing Style'
- 5th in the Series - 'Test and Adjust'
- 6th in the Series - 'Distribute & Train'
- 7th and final in the Series - 'Review & Update'